We hope everyone had a restful Labor Day holiday yesterday and is enjoying the last bits of our late summer’s warm days and cool nights! With Fall officially beginning at the end of this month, we too begin to shift our attention to the many exciting Kara events coming up over the next few months. We are in full swing preparation mode for our 11th annual Walk’n’Run to Remember, happening Saturday, October 15th at Mitchell Park again. Registration is open and make sure to check out our Fundraising Teams! We are even more excited to share that the E F Harris Family Foundation has generously offered to MATCH every single dollar given in support of the Walk – up to $15,000! Thank you so much E F Harris Family Foundation! Read on for more updates including our next Caregivers Forum (THIS Thursday!), NEW updated dates for our Compassion Cultivation Training starting this month, and upcoming groups.
As always, we thank you for your continued support of our mission and allowing us to provide grief support to our community.
Kara Spotlight: Kaye Crawford
In our Kara Spotlight section each month, we will highlight individuals from within our Kara community. This month, we highlight Kaye Crawford, who is a great example of all those who masterfully juggle a demanding career and heartfelt volunteer work! Originally from Tennessee, Kaye moved to the Bay Area when she finished her undergraduate schooling. She has had a career full of IT roles, from creating, training on and managing groups of people who create software. Now, in a more individual role, Kaye is the end-user of software. Kaye is very family oriented. She is married and has two sons and two teenage grandsons, Miles and Khari and loves spending time with them.
How did you get involved with Kara?
With the faith community I was a part of at the time, I had been in a volunteer program where I’d visit and sit with the ill and found that incredibly satisfying. I first read about Kara in a brochure, specifically in an announcement for the volunteer training. As I enjoy working with people on a 1-on-1 basis, Kara’s work seemed very similar and I was excited to learn more. This past May made 11 years of volunteering with Kara!
As you facilitate a drop-in group, how do you create a space for participants who may not be regular in attendance or familiar with the grief process when working with a group of grieving individuals?
I’ve been facilitating the drop-in groups for quite some time, I’ve actually lost track! In working with my co-facilitator, Sheila and others among the years, our job is to simply hold the space and to welcome and meet people where they are. If you meet clients where they are and continue to hold a safe and inviting space for them to experience whatever they can access at that moment, beautiful things can happen. There’s also a skill of letting go of the “me” pieces to keep the interaction focused on the client.
I really love serving the participants that attend our drop-in groups. It isn’t scripted – you learn so much about people and their process. I’ve watched someone deal with the accomplishment of simply walking through our doors, in so much pain. They’re hurting so hard that they’re scared and unsure of what might happen in a group. Many times, they are not sure what they need; they just know they need something. By the end of the session, it’s rewarding to see their demeanor change, their comfort level more relaxed as they reach out and share with others they’ve just met, and even their capacity to accept more, taking fliers and information pamphlets. You can see right away that something has happened for them. It’s just amazing.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about grief in your time with Kara?
Before I started at Kara, I thought grieving was something you did and then you were finished. I saw it as something that came to an end. And what I’ve learned is that in some ways grief never comes to an end. But that once you work with and understand your grief more fully, you’re somewhat better for it. Some parts of yourself are changed in a way that make you more compassionate toward self and others and for some, more focused on what’s important in life. That benefit can reshape us so that later, when grief is encountered again, we have some perspective to work with it and find new and different meanings that continue to reshape us.
Who’s a hero of yours and what has he or she taught you about resilience?
My mother’s sister, my aunt, is a heroine of mine! She was a teacher who taught business skills in the St. Louis school district. She was always so generous, constantly giving to her students and always looking for new ways to give of herself to others. She had many good things happen in her life and equally many not-so-good things happen. But she was always one who would role with whatever was going on and so very gracious to everyone she met. She even helped shaped my career because she was the one who introduced me to technology and computers. She’s an image that I keep that I find inspiring.
Updated Dates for our Compassion Cultivation Training:
Wednesdays from 7:00 – 9:00 pm, Sept. 28 – Nov. 16, 2016
First Presbyterian Church, Library Lounge | 1140 Cowper Street, Palo Alto (Behind Kara)
In this course, Robert Cusick invites us to choose empathy and compassion rather than defaulting to ‘reactivity’ and shutting-down or burning out when confronted with life’s inevitable challenges. He will combine traditional contemplative practices with contemporary psychology, scientific research and experiential processes that can help you to both allow and understand the many different ways compassion and empathy can be experienced — in order to lead a more compassionate life.
Registration is required for this course. To learn more, visit the CCT site.
Upcoming Caregivers Forum:
Our next Caregivers Forum is THIS Thursday, September 8th. Spaces are still available and pre-registration is encouraged to help us plan for the event.
The Caregivers Forum is designed to anyone charged or entrusted with the responsibility of caregiving. It is open to professional caregivers, as well as those providing care to family, friends or clients across a broad spectrum of needs that include chronic or life-threatening illnesses to caring for and accompanying others through their personal experience of grief.
Register for this upcoming event by visiting our site sign up page.
Adult Sibling Loss Group Starting Wednesdays in October:
Kara will offer this evening grief support group for adults who have recently had a sibling die. This group is offered twice a year and meets twice a month for 12 total sessions in the evenings from 7:00 – 8:30pm (excluding holidays). The group provides a safe and supportive environment for adults who are grieving to share their experiences and feelings as well as learn about the grieving process.
An initial interview is required before enrolling in the group. Although no fee is required for participating in this group, regular donations are suggested and appreciated. For more information, visit our site or call us at 650-321-5272.
Lace up for our Walk’n’Run to Remember!
Mark your calendars as our Walk’n’Run to Remember will be held on Saturday, October 15th once again at Mitchell Park! Registration is open! And a BIG thank you to the E F Harris Family Foundation who has generously offered to MATCH every dollar given in support of the Walk’n’Run – up to $15,000!!! Your donations and supporter’s donations will all be doubled!
Make sure to check out our Walk’n’Run “411 Page” that shares all information that participants will need for this wonderful event. From registering as a participant, creating a fundraising team, becoming a sponsor for the event, or even the timeline of the day, you can find it all here! We look forward to seeing you there as we honor a loved one and support the journey.
And don’t forget… Thanks to the generosity of the Sobrato Family Foundation, for every new or increased dollar we receive from supporters like you, the Sobrato Family Foundation will match it – times two – up to $27,000! That’s every dollar doubled by our Sobrato Family Foundation Challenge Grant!
With every dollar raised, we can help bring hope and meaning to children and adults along their grief journey. Thank you so much for your support!
A community partner, Channing House, is hosting a 6 part series beginning on September 10th entitled ELIPSIS, (End-of-Life Information, Planning, & Support Instruction Series). Kara will be hosting an information table on the September 24th workshop date. If you are interested in registering for the series, visit the series site.
A special thank you this month goes out to the E F Harris Family Foundation, Palo Alto University, The Pratt Center, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, and Webster House. Their partnership and generous gifts make a real difference in the lives of children, families, and adults in our community working with their grief. WE THANK YOU!